The NFL's Championship weekend is approaching, and everyone is starting to make their Super Bowl picks for each league. Who do you think will represent the AFC and NFC in Super Bowl XLVII Feb. 3 in New Orleans? My quick takes on each matchup:
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
The end for Ray Ray?
I know it was impressive that the Ravens went into the Mile High City and knocked off the Super Bowl favorite Denver Broncos last weekend, but I don't see Baltimore winning this game.
The Broncos had plenty of opportunities to put that ball game away and seal the victory. They didn't, Peyton Manning turned the ball over uncharacteristically, the coaching staff lacked the killer instinct and juevos to go for the kill and, well… the secondary (Tony Carter and Rahim Moore) failed to do their job in the one moment that required it the most.
Kudos to Ray Lewis and the hungry Ravens on the victory, but Denver gave that game away more than anything.
The Patriots don't do that, especially at home. B'more is familiar with New England in the postseason, which could be an advantage, but in the end, the Pats have too many weapons for this Baltimore defense to keep up with, even without Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm).
ESPN's Adam Schefter threw out the tasty nugget that #4 seeds in league Championship games are 6-1 since seeding was changed back in 1990. Very interesting, but I don't see that stat moving to 7-1.
New England marches back to the Super Bowl with a 32-17 victory.
San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
I keep going back and forth on this matchup, one that should be a very exciting contest to watch. Do you take the maturing quarterback in Matt Ryan and the all-world tight end (Tony Gonzalez) - who is searching for his first Super Bowl ring - or the emerging stud playmaking QB in Colin Kaepernick and one of the league's most feared defensive units?
In the end, I think San Fran's defense is good enough to slow down an Atlanta offense that hardly makes mistakes and typically puts together slow, time-consuming drives. If the Falcons can grind it out and monotonously tire out the SF defense, they might have a chance, but it'll be tough to do.
Defense wins championships, and Atlanta's defense could easily be the most vulnerable of the remaining four teams. Their rush defense has been suspect all year, and Frank Gore and Kaepernick will surely test it.
Atlanta pulled a rabbit out of the hat in their incredible last-second win over the Seattle Seahawks last weekend. Their flaws are being exposed and the sun is setting on their successful 2012 season.
The Niners win this one in a hard-fought battle 21-17.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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